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Difficulty paying your business rates

If you are struggling financially and can't pay your business rates, you need to tell us straightaway. Call us on 0330 123 0081 or email brates@guildford.gov.uk.

What happens if you don't pay your business rates

  • if payment is missed, a reminder notice is sent. Only one reminder every year is issued. The missing amount must be paid in seven days or the whole balance in 14 days
  • if payment is not made, a summons is issued
  • if you cannot make the requested payment then let us know. If your circumstances are going to change then we can see how this will affect your account. It may be possible to make an alternative arrangement
  • if payment is made, but another is missed in the same year, a further notice will be issued. This is a cancellation notice. You can no longer pay in instalments and the whole balance must be paid in seven days

When will a summons be sent?

A summons for non-payment is sent if payment is not made within two weeks of getting a reminder notice. Or if payment in full is not made one week from the issue of a cancellation notice. A charge of £100.50 is made.

If payment of the full amount on the summons is made before the court date, the case is closed. 

If payment of the full amount is not made by the court date, then the council will apply to the court for a liability order. If the court agrees the charge is due and unpaid, the liability order will be granted. Further costs of £20, payable by the ratepayer, are charged. A liability order is a document that gives the council extra powers to collect the outstanding debt. These include instructing enforcement agents.

What happens if you don't pay your business rates?

If you are having financial difficulties and can't pay your business rates, you need to tell us straightaway.​

​Here's what happens if you don't pay your business rates:

  • if you miss payments, you will get a reminder notice. You need to bring your account up to date within seven days or pay the whole balance in 14 days
  • if you cannot make the payment then let us know. If your circumstances are going to change then we can see how this will affect your account. It may be possible to make an alternative arrangement
  • if you make a payment, but you miss another payment in the same year, you will get another further notice. This is a cancellation notice. You can no longer pay in instalments and the whole balance must be paid in seven days to avoid further action

When will a summons be sent?

A summons will be sent for non-payment if:

  • payment is not made within two weeks of getting a reminder notice
  • payment in full is not made one week from the issue of a cancellation notice

You will get charged £100.50 for the cost of issuing and processing the summons. If payment of the full amount of the summons is made before the court date, the case closes. The summons will then be withdrawn.

You lose your right to pay by instalments once you have received a summons. But you can propose a payment plan that would clear your account balance by the end of the financial year.

You can do this online if you have a MyGuildford account. If you do not have a MyGuildford account you can set one up. 

Register or sign into your MyGuildford account

If you have not yet registered to access your business rates account online, there are more steps. You can then link your online business rates account to your MyGuildford.

To complete this, you will need the following information:

  • your business rates reference number - found on your latest bill. Do not include the "X" when you enter the reference
  • your business name
  • your property postcode

Once you have linked your business rates account, go to the 'account summary' screen. You will see a list of 'quick links' on the right-hand side. You need to select the 'set up a special payment arrangement' link. 

What happens next?

If we can accept your offer of payment, we will confirm this when you complete the form. You will be able to view details of the arrangement you make on your online business rates account.

You must make the payments by this arrangement.

If we cannot accept your offer of payment online, your offer will be looked at by a member of staff. We will send you a letter to tell you the outcome of your request.

Making a special payment arrangement means you will not have paid your account in full. Your case will still proceed to court. But provided you make the payments by your arrangement, nothing more will happen.

Liability order and recovery action

If payment of the full amount is not made by the court date, then we will apply to the court for a liability order. If the court agrees the charge is due and unpaid, the liability order will be granted.

A liability order is a document that gives the council powers to collect the debt. These include instructing enforcement agents. 

​Further costs of £20, payable by the rate payer, are charged. 

If an enforcement agent handles the case, you will get further charges. If an enforcement agent contacts you, do not ignore it.